Philippine Navy Chief Suddenly Relieved, Frigate Mess Cover Up Highly Likely Reason

In a very suspicious move made by the Philippine Navy and Department of National Defense, the Philippine Navy's Flag Officer in Command (FOIC), Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, was relieved from his post and was replaced by AFP J9, Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad effective today, 19th December 2017 at 0900H. This despite VAdm. Mercado was slated for retirement by March 2018 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 years old. Its still being confirmed what would be VAdm. Mercado's new position.

The turn over appears to have not been covered by the media, or if it did it was done minimally. No speeches whatsoever. And it was done in the Office of the Chief of Staff AFP's instead of a public area. The ceremony was simple: just a quick handover ceremony that isn't normal when replacing the head of a major armed service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. VAdm. Mercado will prbably be assigned in AFP Headquarters until he retires, which is tantamount to floating status.



Were the issues on the Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Project the reason why FOIC was suddenly replaced? MaxDefense will discuss soon.



As many of our readers may have already known, this is likely something to do with the mess involving the Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Program, which we have been covering since September 2016 before the DND and Hyundai Heavy Industries signed the contract for the deal.

MaxDefense has been raising the alarm on the issue for several months now, wherein Hyundai is attempting to revise the frigate's subsystems and design in violation of RA 9184 and not in compliance to the Technical Specifications of the project, with the backing of the Department of National Defense. This issue has become too serious to the point that the Defense Secretary himself has took notice of our posts and placed MaxDefense in the DND and AFP's monitoring.

Prior to this relief of the FOIC, the chairman of the PN Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) and Project Management Team (PMT) of the Frigate Acquisition Project, Commo. Sean Villa was also relieved from his post last week.

As a background, RAdm. Empedrad was formerly the FAP Technical Working Group head when he was still a Commodore, and was also a FAP Steering Committee member and adviser at the same time as being the AFP's J9. Incidentally, VAdm. Mercado was also the first Technical Working Group head of the FAP before then Commo. Empedrad took over when Mercado became FOIC in 2016.

So why relieve these two important officers of their post, considering their involvement in the project? Why was RAdm Empedrad involved in the Frigate Project until before he was made FOIC despite already the AFP J9 which has nothing to do with the FAP? Why was there even a Steering Committee made by the Defense Secretary despite the presence of a Project Management Team and Technical and Inspection Acceptance Committee? There are many questions actually but we will all bring it to place very soon.

Also why do this change of command just before the Christmas holiday when everyone including the Senate and Congress will be out of session, and the media's attention is on the holidays and the aftermath of the devastating typhoon?

MaxDefense will discuss more of the issues in our next blog entry very soon.

Meanwhile I, Max Montero, is still banned from posting on our Facebook Group Page, as well as on my personal page until next week. Coincidence as well?

Comments

  1. I thought this admin is hell bent on eliminating corruption in this country?

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    Replies
    1. He was "fired" because he was favoring another company that will supply the ship's battle management systems. This will cause the delay of this project.

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  2. Demolition job. Hindi kya mademoral ang navy sa ginawa ng DND?

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    1. Sec of DND is just doing its job of eradicating delays in the project. We need these ships badly ASAP. Mercado was insistent on favoring another company that will supply the ships battle management system. Ngayon lang sya magrereklamo kung kailan nagkapirmahan na ng kontrata.

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  3. Wait Sir Max is banned from Facebook for a week? Why?

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    Replies
    1. Fb is moderated in the phils by duterte supporters

      Delete
  4. Sir just a reminder, be careful, very carefully when discussing this issue. I suggest you keep it quit for now. There is a reason why this activity was kept from the public. You might end up having the Intel community knocking at your door asking you nicely about it if you insist sir. Just a heads up only. Let's play it by ear for the meantime.....

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    Replies
    1. lol, it wont happen when he is in "another country"
      additionally not in China too

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    2. Sir max maybe a former Philippine Navy officer but he is now connected with Australian Navy as a system s consultant. He is an Australian Citizen now and the DND can't touch him.

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    3. Sir max is no longer a Filipino citizen but his heart remains to be a Filipino, He is not living in the Philippines anymore so DND can't touch.

      Delete
  5. No wonder I haven't seen any updates from you recently on FB. I started wondering whether I was banned/kicked.

    Will bookmark your blogsite as this is really interesting topic to follow. Finally after all the red flagging somebody took notice.

    Anyways, keep up the good work sir Max! And Happy Holidays!

    -Jamy (FB)

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  6. https://www.rappler.com/nation/191742-philippine-navy-chief-steps-down?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nation

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  7. thanks to Pitz Defense Analysis, i found this new blog entry. happy holidays to both of you, keep up the good, unselfish work. god bless us all

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  8. Meanwhile, Royal Malaysian Navy lays keel for 3rd Littoral Combat Ship
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://mobile.navaltoday.com/2017/12/18/malaysian-navy-lays-keel-for-third-lcs-raja-mahadi/&ved=0ahUKEwiY3LHyz5XYAhWDNI8KHTS0Cr4QFghPMA0&usg=AOvVaw1W1I-X4TjyxKzysCz27YQC

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  9. Lorenzana should be relieved first!
    They are really doing their best to cripple Navy' s good officers to insinuate their hidden agenda. If war with US and Nokor happens sooner or later. I hope one of either nukes would fell straight into Lorenzana's face and the rest of his minions!

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  10. Good thing i subscribed to this blog site through email

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  11. Please investigate this... is the original tech specs by PN was change after bidding (RA9184)? I think the original tech specs was better capability as compared to manipulated tech specs in order to comply to HHI product. The frigate tech specs offered by HHI was cheaper especially CMS. THALES was better CMS and PN need that capability DND did not know that. I think 16B pesos will be wasted if we pursue that project.

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  12. It is always been the DND has the problems when it comes to procurement decisions, even the release of AFP RESERVE FORCES BUDGET to be honest.

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